Aston Villa saw off Celtic competition to land 2018 signing, according to ex-boss

Aston Villa v AFC Ajax: Round of 16 Second Leg - UEFA Europa Conference League 2023/24
Aston Villa v AFC Ajax: Round of 16 Second Leg - UEFA Europa Conference League 2023/24 / Shaun Botterill/GettyImages

Former Aston Villa boss Steve Bruce has revealed they beat off competition from Celtic to land John McGinn back in 2018.

The Scotland international, who now has 62 caps for his country, has become a key player for the Midlands outfit over recent years.

He has made 224 appearances for them in all competitions to date and has chipped in with 25 goals.

McGinn helped Aston Villa gain promotion from the Championship under Dean Smith back in 2019 and has since adapted well to life in the Premier League.

His career could have taken a different path though if Celtic had won the race for his signature instead.

Bruce, who was the manager who lured McGinn to the club, has said on talkSPORT (via HITC Sport): "Absolute bargain, yeah, he was. 

“Do you know from the first 30 seconds that he entered the pitch for Aston Villa, he became a bit of a cult hero all of a sudden? He smashed into a challenge and drove forward the way he can, and he shot from about two minutes. He had all the ingredients of being a top top player.

“It was two million quid, but we didn’t have two million quid. So we had to stall it at the time, we had to stall it because we didn’t have two million quid.

“All along, we had to compete with Celtic, and I don’t know if you know, but John McGinn’s grandad, I think, was the chairman of Celtic, so all the stories were telling me he was going to Celtic.

“I heard that his dad played golf, so I thought I am going to get his dad and get a bit of some stalling time. We got him to The Belfry, which gave me another four or five hours to try and russle together the two million quid because we didn’t have it at the time.

“But, yeah, I am absolutely pleased for him because he has turned into a really really top player, the kid.”

Prior to his move to Aston Villa, McGinn played 136 matches for Hibernian after joining the Edinburgh club as a youngster from St Mirren.